Hearing tests in hospital or in private clinic: where to go?
Written by Élise Lévesque,
You want to consult an audiologist, but you don’t know where to go. Should you book an appointment at a hospital or at a private clinic?
It is important for you to know the pros and cons of both practice settings to take the right decision.
Differences and Similarities
The most important advantage of the public health care system is that all the services are covered by the RAMQ (health insurance card).
On the other hand, you will have to pay a certain amount if you see an audiologist at a clinic. However, the fees could be covered partially or totally by your private insurance (ask your insurance company).
The wait is not as long to see an audiologist in a clinic than it is in a hospital.
Indeed, the waiting list can go to 1 to 2 years for a consultation in a hospital while you could book an appointment in maybe two weeks in a clinic.
The Need of Medical Referral
You can book an appointment at any private clinic without a medical referral, but sometimes you need one to see an audiologist at the hospital (it is not always the case, you should seek more information about your closest hospital).
Different backgrounds, but same quality of service
You will receive the same quality service whether you decide to make an appointment in a private or public setting.
Every audiologist needs to follow the same code of ethics no matter their practice setting as they are all Ordre des orthophonistes et audiologistes du Québec (OOAQ) members.
The Reason for Consultation
Progressive hearing loss
You have hearing difficulties for many months or many years, but you never had a hearing test.
You’re now ready to know what the cause of your hearing loss is. It may be better, in this case, to consult in a private clinic to be able to act more quickly.
The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get your brain used to hearing again.
You want to complete a request (CNESST and RAMQ)
Your hearing test will be eligible for a CNESST or a RAMQ request regardless of the practice setting you will choose to go to. Your choice will depend on the benefits of each environment (price, wait time).
You should know that the hearing test cost will be reimbursed by the CNESST if your request is accepted. However, it won’t be covered by the RAMQ.
You need a hearing test for your employer or for the SAAQ
You can get your hearing test in a clinic or in a hospital.
If you don’t want to wait 1 to 2 years before you meet the audiologist and you don’t mind paying a certain amount, you can go to a private clinic.
If waiting is not a problem for you, you could opt for the hospital. In both cases, you will receive an audiological report. Also, you should know that the hearing test cost will not be covered by the SAAQ.
Hearing loss for children (0 to 5 years old)
You want your child to get a hearing test. Again, you can choose between both practice settings.
If your child lives with a syndrome or another condition, it could be better to consult a specialized team in a children’s hospital (the Ste-Justine’s hospital, for example).
Many clinics are offering child hearing test services. They can test your child’s ears sooner than at the hospital because of the smaller waiting list. The audiologist at the clinic will make a referral to another, more specialized, audiologist if needed.
If you are looking for hearing rehabilitation, the most economic setting would be to see an audiologist at a public rehabilitation center. Indeed, a lot of appointments will be necessary, and the cost will be high in a clinic.
However, the rehabilitation center might be quite far away from your home. You will have to decide if you prefer to pay more to have a closer service.